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The real reason your vagina is always dry

Sheryl A. Ross, M.D., “Dr. Sherry,” is an award-winning OBGYN, author, entrepreneur and women’s health expert.

How to keep your vagina from feeling like an arid desert

A healthy vagina needs the same hygienic attention as any other part of your body and is similar to the way we care for our face. Between urine, sweat and being so close to the anus, cleaning the vagina regularly is critical to prevent dirty bacterial buildup, and the skin of the vagina is susceptible to dryness if not taken care of properly.

The vagina has a preferred pH balance that is perfect for the many protective organisms that live happily together in the vagina. Anything that disrupts this delicate balance could lead to vaginal misery such as an infection, dryness, itching or burning.

Causes of vaginal dryness

The causes of vaginal dryness can be obvious while others are less suspecting.

A main cause is hormonal influences. The two main hormonal assaults on the body causing a drop in estrogen and leading to vaginal dryness and dehydration are breast feeding and menopause. As long as you are breastfeeding, your estrogen levels plummet, causing vaginal dryness, burning and pain with exercise and sex. Once you stop breastfeeding, your estrogen levels return to normal and the vagina will return to its normal healthy and hydrated state.

Another common cause of vaginal dryness is menopause, which typically happens around age 51. Your ovaries permanently stop making estrogen. This leads to vaginal dryness, burning and pain with sexual activity. With the loss of estrogen to nourish and hydrate the vagina, the tissue becomes dry, pale, itchy and dehydrated. During menopause, there are helpful treatments to restore and hydrate the vagina caused by low estrogen levels.

Both of these hormonal conditions leading to vaginal dryness can be reversible by regularly rehydrating the vaginal tissue with products especially made for this sensitive part of our body.

But there are also plenty of other reasons for dryness. The vagina can be sensitive and temperamental, often affected by everyday routines including diet, stress, douching, and sex, especially if you haven’t had adequate foreplay.

Every day, unsuspecting feminine rituals can disrupt the pH balance and irritate all areas of the vagina. The list is long and some of the common offenders may surprise you. From fragrant soaps, to sanitary wipes and pads, to saliva or semen, to medications including the birth control pill, there are a number of products that could affect the moisture of your vagina.

What you can do

The effect of aging on our entire body, including our vagina, is inevitable. Regularly using a gentle, non-fragranced wash and natural skin moisturizer is ideal, especially ones made specifically for the vagina. Use a product that works with your body’s natural lubrication for times of dryness. Keeping your skin hydrated, clean and cared for will help prevent dryness, itching and premature aging. Adding oral or vaginal probiotics to your regimen will also keep the vagina in complete balance and harmony.

We can all agree: A hydrated vagina is a happy vagina!

Check out this video recap of Vagtails - a shameless conversation about vaginal health at #BlogHer16!

This post is sponsored by Vagisil ProHydrate.

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